Annual Meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature

November 21-24, 2020    Boston, Massachusetts

Animal sacrifice has long dominated the scholarly study of animals in ancient Mediterranean religions. Recent works developing out of animal studies and ecopoetics have shown, however, that the relations between the human and the animal were more complex, complicated, and perhaps even contradictory: ancient Christian rhetoric, for example, articulated human dominance over the animal, while also imagining intimate animal-human encounters and even the re-creation of a peaceable, prelapsarian kingdom.

Inspired by the recent work, this sessions seeks papers that address the various ways that religious relations between the human and the animal were constructed in texts and in material culture: in addition to animal sacrifice, what other ways were animals significant in ancient Mediterranean religions (including Greek and Roman traditions, Judaism, and Christianity)? Were animals good to think with? Did animality play a role in ancient religious systems of thought and practice? How might one understand theriomorphic gods (even partial ones) or animal masks and masquerades?

Proposals should be submitted electronically through the SBL website. The deadline is Wednesday, 11 March, 2020. You must be a member of the SBL or seek a waiver in order to deliver a paper. Papers should last between 15 and 20 minutes. Abstracts should contain a title and a word count, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously. Please direct all queries to SAMR at

You can link to the SBL submission site here.